Hard Bop – Warm Bop?

I’ve been busy preparing for the day when we can again perform in public. The following material is the product of Corona “Lockdown”. It is an answer to the question: What would you like to play and how would you like to play it?

I love the “Hard Bop” quintet and sextet groups of the 60’s. Groups led by Blue Mitchel, Hank Mobley, Donald Byrd, Harold Land, Oliver Nelson, Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Junior Cook to name a few, are an inspiration. The music embraces bebop, blues and latin in an energetic and thoughtful way.

As a player I have mostly concerned myself with melodies and improvisation but lately I’ve been digging deeper into the music. The arrangements and their interpretations by the players are what make the music really live. While fake books and lead sheets are helpful and make it possible to create ad hoc performances, they tend to be responsible for what I call “generic jazz” which is something less than ideal. To combat this I have been transcribing baselines, piano voicings and rhythmic ideas as well as lifting and ultimately arranging, in this case for Trumpet, alto and tenor.

I have purposely kept the solos short for two reasons; one being that the recordings are demos of the songs and not my playing, the other being that the recording sessions where I lay down my parts are practice sessions. The exercise while playing is to be as succinct as possible. If one can’t say what one wants to say in one or two choruses then one probably can’t say it with more. The goal is to say something clearly and in a timely fashion.

For each title there are two links. The first is a score where I have transcribed what I think is enough information to reproduce a close facsimile of the original and then a recording where the instruments I do not play are “programmed” using Logic Pro, a Mac platform program. I don’t play trumpet or rhythm section instruments which leaves the saxophones which are played by me. I make the recordings so that they can be a feedback to check that the music does indeed represent what I think I heard and felt from the original recordings. As I stated, what is written and recorded is only the bare minimum required to transport the original feeling of the original. Of course one can invest endless hours into reproducing the minute details of a performance, phrasing and note placement not to mention imitating the original recording techniques.

It is fully my intention to perform this music in the (hopefully) not too distant future. If you know of venues in Germany or other EU countries that would appreciate this music please contact me. I am also thinking seriously of hosting a regular “rehearsal band” to rehearse and record the music I write. If you are interested for updates please feel free to write to me at:
mail@beecroft.de

Note: I do not own the publishing or copyright for the original pieces – the scores and my recordings are presented here or educational purposes only.